There’s been some musings after LeBron officially left for L.A. that Cleveland would still try to field a contender. But there’s two reasons why that’s not a good idea. The first one being the obvious: this Cavs team isn’t good enough to contend, even for the playoffs. The second one is more practical. Back in January of 2017, the Cavs sent Mike Dunleavy Jr., Mo Williams, and a top 10 protected 1st round pick to Atlanta for the eternal Kyle Korver. That pick is top 10 protected in 2019 and 2020 meaning if the Cavs don’t finish in the top 10 of the lottery this year, they’re in danger of losing it to the Hawks.
Is it tanking if the team's just not good enough? The Cavs need relief quick in the form of young talent and lesser payroll. Ex Cavs GM David Griffin has said multiple times that they made sure to protect the first round picks they traded in the event LeBron left. They’ve gotta cash in. Too risky in today’s NBA, especially for mid-tier destinations to sacrifice their first round pick to gain some honor with the fans, half of whom probably want them to tank.
Although the Cavs are trying to trade Kyle Korver, I think they’ll start the season with Kevin Love still on staff. The player I thought was the least likely to stick around outlasted all the stars and he deserves to be the “Man” this year. The Cavs will only trade if they get an offer too good to refuse, maybe near the trade deadline. A source in Portland over the weekend says the Blazers need to win now or risk losing Dame Lillard. Perhaps some sort of deal that sends Love back to Portland where he grew up nearby for a package including Northeast Ohio native C.J. McCollum (Canton) is possible.
I'm sure the Cavs would take calls on George Hill, I just don't think anyone's calling. Hill is set to make 19 million this year and 18 the next. And something tells me he may not be worth that. He'll be perhaps the highest paid backup point guard/mentor in the league. With Jeff Green leaving for the Wizards, it leaves Rodney Hood as a restricted free agent. The Cavs would do well to bring Hood back at a low rate, maybe even a 1 year deal but the Kings may Divac that all up.
Which brings us to the Cavs big addition this year, first round pick Collin Sexton. I wasn’t enamored of the pick because I saw higher upside elsewhere (Fort Knox). He’s not Kyrie Irving. He may not even be Terrell Brandon. But a starting rookie point guard has probably the most difficult transition to the NBA. We’ll have to give this guy some time to see what he can become. He’s going to show signs in the meantime.
What I would be excited about is more Cedi Osman. The way that kid plays and his improving skill will be perfect for Cleveland. Dude has more game than you think. Love is gonna be a best player on the team again for the first time in 5 years. He was the classic big stats on a bad team star back then. Not much of a leader according to former teammate Ricky Rubio and he never made the playoffs in Minny. I sense the same type of lottery finish with the Cavs. And that's a good thing for the future.
follow on twitter @bengalli33